Published: Fri, May 04, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Severe dust storms across India kill more than 100 people

Severe dust storms across India kill more than 100 people

According to the Met department, the consistent cyclonic formation could cause another dust storm in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in the next two days.

An official at the disaster control room in the state capital Lucknow told reporters at least 73 deaths were reported from Uttar Pradesh, 43 of them in Agra district.

Seventy-three people were killed in UP and 91 injured, officials said. Reports inform that many were killed after houses collapsed after being struck by intense bursts of lightning.

Trees and electricity poles were uprooted and walls flattened as the storm caused chaos in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan states on Wednesday. In Uttar Pradesh, the high-intensity dust storm left 64 people dead and 47 injured. Officials say the death toll could increase. The weather department claimed it had issued a warning for western parts of UP, but neither the state government nor its disaster management department made arrangements to safeguard people or minimise damage. According to the National Emergency Response Centre (NERC), ministry of home affairs (MHA), Agra, Bijnor, Saharanpur, Bareily, Chitrakoot, Raebareli and Unnao were the most affected.

In wake of the alarming situation in the state, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje asked officers in the affected districts to provide help to the injured.

In Rajasthan, a powerful dust storm hit Alwar, Dholpur and Bharatpur districts, killing 31 people and injuring another 100.

It is reported that during strong large-scale storms at least 77 persons were killed, 143 were injured.

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Indian residents look at a wall damaged by high winds during a major dust storm.

The India Meteorological Department warned there would be more storms over a wider area till Saturday. Satellite images have confirmed these fears, showing growing wind pressure in Rajasthan which could lead to another dust storm. It said that there will be light rain/thunderstorm/dust storm in Dholpur till Saturday, while in Alwar and Bharatpur it will be till Friday. "There is a forecast for more storms in the next 48 hours across the state, so people should be alert", he added.

In Rajasthan, while the official figures were of 33 deaths, unofficial sources pegged the casualties at 39.

Officials said the deaths were likely to be due to vulnerability of structures such as poorly constructed houses or inadequate precautions by people exposed to the storms. I Express my deep condolences to the families of the victims. May the injured recover soon.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the loss of life.

Meanwhile, 15 flights, including two worldwide ones, were diverted from the Delhi airport due to bad weather, airport officials said.

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